divide and conquer.

I know I’ve been posting a lot less recently, but I swear I have plenty of good excuses.

For one, I’ve been working ridiculous hours at my actual paying job.  My new assistant is pretty terrible, so I’m in constant crisis mode.  And every day brings new, unanticipated deadlines and meetings.

But that’s not all of it.  I’ve been working on a much larger personal project.

A few weeks ago, eastbound traffic on 76 allowed me to spend several hours alone in my car.  Bored with the contents of my Ipod, I started taking stock of my life.  I realized that I’m constantly worrying about something.  All of my problems were caging me in, affecting my ability to breathe.  I scribbled down a list of all of the things that have been giving me anxiety, disappointment, and frustration.  Number 10, number 15, number 23…further examination proved that some of these individual issues were duplicative, evolving from the same root problem.  In the end, I was able to narrow it down to (lucky) 13  items.

Seeing all of my problems broken down into letters and punctuation gave me a sense of power.  If these issues could be given names, they could be solved.

So I started working on them.

Some were simple. Like “Bad back tattoo.”  Acquired in the 90s.  I never thought it was too terrible, until an awful boyfriend took it upon himself to remind me of its unsightliness on a near-daily basis.   I could no longer wear tank tops without feeling like a hideous monster.   I worried that some of my coworkers were laughing about it (I know this was not mere paranoia).  

I collected some artwork, met with my tattoo artist, and hatched a plan.  Project Cover Up begins on Sunday, with a five hour session.

Other issues merely involved some paperwork or phone calls.  It’s all in motion.

I’m still trying to figure out one of the most agonizing problems, just because I have a hard time revealing my true feelings.  Don’t we all?  Either I’ll figure out a way to set aside my fears, or I’ll just get so bored with thinking about it, that my interest will evaporate.  Never underestimate the power of over-thinking!

But the biggest issue of all–the one that travels with an entourage of sub-problems–is the requiring the most work.  Essentially it boils down to this:  I want to leave Philadelphia.  I’m not happy here.  I have tried so hard.  SO hard.   

When I arrived here almost three years ago, I told myself that my previous experiences in the City of Brotherly Love would not be allowed to poison my new life.   I’ve maintained that policy.

But I miss my friends and big trees and snow-capped mountains on the horizon.  New Seasons and snobby coffee and vegan doughnuts.  Biking down Ankeny late at night.  Bridges and decent thrifting and Powell’s.

And it’s not just that.  Philly just isn’t the right fit for me.  The groups are defined and I don’t belong to any of them.  Most of the boys are un-cute and not-so-fun.  Biking here is 75% less fun.  And  I’m only a hippie by Philadelphia standards.

I really like my job here in Philly.  It’s challenging and sometimes fun.  I’ve met some cool people.  I like seeing my own ideas become a real, physical product.  I would be lying if I said I don’t feel proud when I see strangers on the street wearing things that I developed.  If I could transfer my office (the world headquarters) somewhere else (NYC, LA, San Francisco?), I would probably never leave the company.

But my job can never bring me happiness on its own.

And conversely, no job equals many new problems, no matter how happy I am otherwise.

So I’m looking for jobs.  Ideally in Portland, but really, any where on the West Coast.  I realize that this process could take a very, VERY long time.  But I’m committed.  I’ve  been sending my resume to a new place every day (part of a deal I made with myself).  This is eating up a lot of time, but it’s an exciting project.

Yes, there are some things that could happen that might keep me here (i.e., big promotion/enormous raise, the migration of some key Portlandians to sunny Philadelphia).  I’m not giving up all together.  But looking for a job makes me feel like I’m actively attempting to improve my life.  

What else?  I’m still writing a lot.  Right now I’m finishing up the most basic draft of my book.  I’m flying to Portland in two weeks; I plan on spending a lot of my vacation time reworking/revising/expanding this draft.   I am hoping to start serializing it here in late May.   I can’t lie:  a lot of the content will seem familiar…but hopefully, better than ever.  I’m also working on a short story about receiving the power of invisibility from a guy hanging out in Clark Park.

That’s all for now…time for bed…I’m going into the office really early tomorrow.

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4 thoughts on “divide and conquer.

  1. brooke says:

    you continually inspire me. these days it seems so easy to not take risks and make changes. turn on any news program and they’ll give you several depressing reasons against it. good for you.

  2. janelle says:

    i support you! you should email hollie today. xoxoxo

  3. Rachel says:

    i’m proud of you and i miss you!

  4. Michael says:

    you are inspiring, always

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